Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Fraidy Asks, "What Do Oprah and a Clothesline Have in Common?"

A clothesline will soon be a curious anthropological artifact. That simple, almost forgotten solar dryer whispers of a simpler time and place where neighbors knew each other by name. Shoot! In some towns, your neighbors were your cousins and grammaw! Today, your neighbor is just a waving hand behind a passing steering wheel. In those bygone days, yards backed up to each other in an expanse uninterrupted by privacy fences. Clotheslines peppered back property lines. Toddlers chased butterflies, and moms gathered for a quick chat while wrangling clothes drying in the wind. Those days slipped away bit by bit till no one even has a clothesline anymore.

As I watched the Oprah departure effect wash back and forth across facebook, my mind wandered back to those almost forgotten images. I thought about how the world has changed and how those changes set the stage for a hero like Oprah to emerge. I confess, I watched her debut show. Over the years, I enjoyed quite a few more of them. The last few years, her appeal waned as her philosophical bent diverged from mine. As I've pondered her departure, I realized what drew me, and probably many others, to the show.

Didn't she have the power to make you feel like you had gathered at the clothesline with a few of your best girlfriends? The chores of the day were less tedious because you had her. Every day, she came into your home and diverted your attention from the wearisome details of life. Oprah reassured you that you were not alone in this big scary world. No matter what pain you hid behind your scairdy cat mask, she and her guests eventually met you where you lived. Oprah had the power to instruct, reassure, chide, encourage, rebuke, amuse, challenge, entertain, and comfort all of us from the safe and antiseptic distance of her studio.

It may be the ultimate oxymoron that the more we become interconnected via technology, the less we feel intimately networked to those around us. Families are spread across the globe with Skype to connect them. Friends stopped calling and moved on to email. Now facebook and email are going the way of twitter. Text messages masquerade as conversations. Cards and letters are museum pieces.

Oprah stepped into the void and became a candidate to be our best friend by proxy. A best friend that most of us will never meet. We know Oprah, and she knows us. Life is a mess, and she could be our friend without getting messy in the process. Now that Oprah's gone, who will fill her void? Maybe we could take a chance on each other. Why wait until an F5 tornado wipes out our community to realize we need each other and have something in common behind our fences and masks and fears?

So, for today think of life as a clothesline. Find a friend and encourage her with this thought:

Hebrews 10:24- "...let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."  (NIV)

If we do, the world will be a better place even tho' Oprah is no longer there to fill her time slot in our lives.


  1. What a great post, Carol Anne! I love the analogy of the clothesline -- so true. Thankfully, Oprah's departure leaves no void in my life but I still plan to take your advice -- watching for opportunities to build fences and friendships. Thanks!

  2. Your support and encouragement means more than you know! Yesterday's blog was such a different tone that I wasn't sure if today's would seem jarring by comparison! So glad it resonated with you!